Tintype Photographs

At the peak of their popularity, the tintype photograph captured the blank, unfocused gaze of Civil War soldiers, along with the solemn expressions of their worried loved ones. Inexpensive, small, lightweight, and durable, several tintypes could be conveniently tucked away in a soldier’s jacket pocket, making them a favorite memento among fighting men. Read more

Top-Hand Dairies

Growing up in Kansas, some of my fondest memories were those made on my grandparent’s farm. My grandfather worked in the oilfields, farmed, and performed other odd jobs to support his family of six. My dad, who passed several years ago, told me the story of how my grandfather helped clean up an old dairy located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma that closed in the 1960’s.  Read more

Is it legal to collect, metal detect, or dig for artifacts?

Over the past few years, there’s been a rash of aggressive police raids and legal action taken against artifact collectors and hobbyists. This has been part of a national effort to enforce laws prohibiting private citizens from illegally obtaining and collecting cultural artifacts―predominantly Native American artifacts.   Read more

Who Owns Archeological Artifacts

The question “who owns archaeological artifacts?” isn’t one that’s easily answered. The United States, and each state within, has its own laws concerning ownership rights to archaeological artifacts. Most of these laws, like the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, have a distinct year that separates which objects belong to the federal or state government, and which are permissible to be lawfully owned by the public. Read more

Brewing American History George Washington

Budweiser has dug deep in the annals of American history for its latest brew.

Inspired by a hand-written recipe uncovered in George Washington’s journal kept during the French and Indian War in 1757, the brewing behemoth has brought Washington’s beer back to life in the form of Freedom Reserve Red Lager.     Read more

Pepperbox Pistols Last Line of Defense

When looking at a pepperbox pistol, one can’t help but to conjure-up nostalgic visions of a bygone era―a gambler firing upon a card cheat, a gold prospector protecting his claim against hostiles, or a Civil War soldier pulling a pistol from his boot as a last line of defense in heated battle.   Read more

Hawaiian-Cache- Bottles-Stoneware-Relics-Blog

As I slowly winded my way through the twists and turns of the Hamakua Coast, I relished the cool Hawaiian air. The air was soft; almost silk-like, and it overwhelmed my senses with the tropical smell of sweet grass, fruit, and salt. It was June 2, 2017 and I was on assignment with American Digger Magazine, in search of a story. The magazine arranged for me to meet brothers Brent and Blake Cousins at their home on the Big Island of Hawaii. My assignment was to come away with a story on their bottle hunting escapades. Read more

Nassau Selters

Several months ago, I was invited by Butch Holcombe, the publisher of American Digger Magazine, to join him on a metal detecting trip to historic Augusta, Georgia. As I soon learned, the city is undertaking an aggressive “beautification” plan, in which public and private developers are reclaiming abandoned and condemned properties, tearing down dilapidated houses, and replacing them with new ones. Our mission? To search recently bulldozed lots for historical remnants of the past. Read more

Civil War Horse Photographer Alexander B Foals

Alexander Barnard Foal (April 1, 1830 – January 16, 1896) was one of the earliest photographers in American history, best known for his spectacular images of service horses, captured during the American Civil War. His photographs, and those he commissioned, had a tremendous impact during the war, and their reverberations continue to be felt today. He and his employees photographed thousands of scenes, including battlefields, camp life, naval scenes, and portraits of some of the most famous military figures of his time, including Winfield Scott, George B. McClellan, George Armstrong Custer, and of course, their majestic steeds. Read more

Sordid History of the Term Picker

In the antiques world, when someone says picker, the image of a distinguished, high-end art dealer doesn’t come to mind. Although they serve a critical role within the antiques trade, pickers are often considered to be the bottom-feeders of the industry. But why?

As I’ve come to learn, the term “picker”, and its uncomplimentary connotation, is steeped in the gutters and sewers of history. Henry Mayhew, the author behind the mammoth four-volume study of London Labour and the London Poor, points to two Victorian era (1837–1901) occupations that gave birth to the term “picker.”   Read more